Brigadier General Brian Cummings thanks Peckham team member Patrick Stanuszek, a disabled veteran working in one of the nonprofit’s repair and distribution centers. Photo via fb.com
A pair of nonprofits are finding ways to create entry-level opportunities in the tech industry for those with disabilities.
IT job placement program
Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids has partnered with Peckham in Lansing, which provides training and employment opportunities to people with significant disabilities, to find information technology jobs.
Peckham, which has a Grand Rapids location, uses AbilityOne, a federal program that’s the nation’s largest provider of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities.
Job candidates must go through a 15-week training course to earn their COMPTIA A+ Certification, before providing tech support to federal agency employees.
The full- and part-time positions start at $15 and go up to $18 an hour, plus a $4.02 health and welfare benefit, with opportunities for additional raises, the Peckham website says.
Peckham also offers certification training for certain candidates with no experience, but a demonstrated interest in exploring and working on an IT “tier-1 help desk,” the site says.
The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is about 70 percent, according to Peckham.
"Finding companies to accommodate a disabled workforce is very hard,” said Jonathan Krieger, 31, who has cerebral palsy and worked with Peckham to find work. “They think people with disabilities are more of a burden than a future success story.
"It feels good to be a person with a disability who can get up and go to work every day. I am in a job where I don't require support from others, and I feel valued as a person.”